One is a graphic designer responsible for the look for countless beers, another has run one of Melbourne’s best craft beer venues, and the third has a long history working in acclaimed bars.
As such, you'd be forgiven for thinking this is a story about a new brewery; however, this trio of founders instead created Pours Cocktails – an entirely unique operation. The small indie outfit’s drinks are inspired by classic cocktails but without that level of booziness, while their ingredient list looks a whole lot like that of a modern craft brewery. What's more, they're as collaborative as anyone in the industry too.
So, while it all might seem a little confusing at first, if you know the founders it starts to make a lot of sense.
Pours' founders are Clint Weaver from the beer-focused graphic design outfit Pocketbeagles, Dayvid Clark, who readers would best know from his time running Beermash in Collingwood, and cocktail bartender Ash Cloud.
Their first release, Sparkling Hopped Mojito, came out late in 2022, with the three of them brought together after Ash enquired about some design work.
“It’s been almost two years since Ash approached me with the idea,” Clint says. “We got along super well, I loved the idea and we both knew Dayv so, all of a sudden, it was three of us.”
The Pours name was Dayvid’s idea; they felt it captured neatly captured the essential final step between the perfect cocktail and your mouth.
“When you make a cocktail,” he says, “you put all this effort into all the ingredients, the shaking, name, and all that kind of stuff. But then the final aspect of getting a cocktail is the pour.
"Also, there were quite a few homophones. A lot of the time we'd be talking about our cats and they've got paws."
The recipes are where Ash’s long career crafting cocktails shines; the bartender has worked in many well-known venues, including the tiny Above Board which sits atop Beermash.
“Ash has that ability to put those things together like he is creating a cocktail from scratch,” Dayvid says. “That’s part of what’s so incredible about watching someone make cocktails: watching someone add four millilitres of one thing and work on very specific elements to bring out so many characteristics.”
Unlike other canned cocktails on the market, Pours is brewed like a seltzer rather than being a premixed drink. Burnley Brewing have been scaling up Ash’s recipes, while Clint says their approach sees them occupying a unique position in the market that bridges booze categories. Their Sparkling Hopped Mojito is only 5 percent ABV, for example, and features Citra and Motueka.
“We definitely want to interest beer drinkers in an alternative drink,” Clint says. “So, we have that familiarity of hops.
“It hits all the marks that seltzer is known for in terms of low sugar, gluten-free and low carb.”
Beyond the seltzer base, the rest of their ingredients are pretty eclectic. Clint says they've only used natural products to avoid the synthetic taste found in some seltzers; to date this includes native river mint distilled straight after being picked, as well as lime leaves and Milton Rum’s cane spirit.
One final and key component came courtesy of their friend Caitlin Koether, a chef who specialises in fermentation.
“She came in and told us what was missing,” Clint says. “She fermented all these different fruits and vegetables and found the winner to be lemongrass, so she made this lemongrass kombucha.”
Currently, they're working on a piña colada-inspired second release, while they’ve already brewed a collaboration with Burnley and Sweden’s Duckpond called Clover Club.
Although Pours sits apart from beer, seltzer and cocktails, Dayvid says they’ve enjoyed positive feedback from retailers, with new customers tending to pick up four-packs over single cans. And, with many canned cocktails on the market offered in small cans, they've cheekily called their 355ml tins "can-sized cocktails", deliberately designed to be session drinks.
“One of the main things we’ve been saying is that it’s perfect to enjoy for kind of just walking down the street and drinking from the can,” he says. “Or being at a party or the park because of the alcohol percentage of 5 percent over 20 or 30.”
While their first batch arrived in cans, they’ve picked up a lot of interest from venues eager to see them in kegs. Although tap cocktails are nothing new, he thinks people can be turned off by the higher price and alcohol level of a product that isn’t carefully constructed in front of you.
“This is drunk as a standard drink as opposed to a short drink like a cocktail,” Dayvid says. “Getting a 20 or 30 percent ABV cocktail coming off a tap seems a bit much, and a lot of people aren’t into that concept.”
While the approach is novel, Dayvid points to one of the main benefits of making "cocktail-inspired" beverages rather than craft beer or a seltzer: giving them a level of creativity you'd hope to see from a group with their shared background in the booze game.
“We’re using existing flavours," he says, "but turning it into a completely new concept."
You can follow the Pours journey on Instagram.
Photos without The Crafty Pint watermark are by Parker Blain.